Dr. Washington Hill, MD, FACOG, one of our distinguished panelists for Maternal Health Care in the 21st Century: Sarasota and Beyond, was recognized as the September 2009 Featured Activist for Florida Planned Parenthood. The following an excerpt from Dr. Hill's column, 'In His Own Words.'
As an OB/GYN physician, I learned long ago the importance for women of all ages to be educated about their bodies and about pregnancy-how it occurs and how to prevent it from occurring. That is the big mission of Planned Parenthood, to combine medical services for women and families with education. An educated patient is better prepared than one who is not, and that includes teens: girls and boys.
Planned Parenthood fulfills its mission of providing medical services, education and advocacy efforts extremely well every day and that is why I believe in speaking up for them whenever I can.
I also believe in choice. I’ve taken care of women who didn’t have a choice of when to become pregnant. Some of them got sick and some died. When I was in medical school, I remember seeing patients sick from septic abortions from unplanned pregnancies. When I was at Temple University, I remember going to the ER and seeing women who had made attempts at self-termination and done it very dangerously. Fortunately, these life threatening medical emergencies are rare now in the United States, but back in those days, were common.
When I worked for Planned Parenthood in Oakland, CA , many years ago, I helped women with family planning, terminations and tubal ligations. A woman should be able to choose these options for herself. It’s her body.
I learned to respect women’s decisions and their right to make their own choices. I feel that is the right thing to do. I believe deeply in Planned Parenthood’s work of education, choice, and prevention and that is why I do everything I can to advocate for them.